Top Questions About Canine Heartworms

Thanks to Guest Author Michele Bowie for this article.

Chihuahua short hair (puppy)

Chihuahua short hair (puppy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

If you have recently adopted a pet dog, you might already be enjoying the pleasures of owning one: exceptional cuteness, an incurable curiosity, and a boatload of energy. Puppies melt hearts daily, and owning one is just about one of the greatest treasures on earth. However, adopting a puppy comes with a price, and that price is responsibility. As a part of your responsibility to take care of your favorite four-legged friend, you are required to take care of his or her physical health. Whether you take your new puppy to the vet or purchase Heartgard for dogs at the best price available, you will find yourself taking on new endeavors in an effort to keep your new friend physically safe.

What are some common health issues your puppy can face?

One of the more obvious health issues your new puppy might experience would be genetic; for example, poodles are prone to receive cataracts. Regardless of whether or not you have chosen a tiny Chihuahua puppy or a little golden retriever as the newest addition to your family, heartworms is a major health consideration to watch out for. Unfortunately, heartworms are very prominent in dogs, causing them to be much more susceptible to the infection. According to the American Heartworm Society, dogs are considered the definitive host when it comes to heartworms.

How do dogs get heartworms?

Picture of a heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) m...

Picture of a heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) microfilaria taken through a microscope at 400x. Taken by Joel Mills on April 21, 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One answer: mosquitoes. If a mosquito is carrying the heartworm larvae and bites a dog, the infection is immediately transmitted. When the larvae grow, they develop and migrate, and then produce their offspring (known as microfilariae). These microfilariae enter the bloodstream.

Aedes albopictus - Tiger mosquito

Aedes albopictus – Tiger mosquito (Photo credit: Camponotus Vagus)

How can I prevent my dog from receiving heartworms?

There are heartworm options available, such as:

  • Injections
  • Monthly pills
  • Topical treatments

Remember, preventing the actual disease is fundamental. After you have your puppy settled into your home, you should ensure to keep him or her safe from any harm. It’s a good idea to purchase Heartgard for dogs at the best price available so that your puppy can be safe and protected at once.

What are the symptoms of heartworms?

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: stefernie)

Although a blood test is the most definite answer you can receive, here are a few signs your puppy might have received heartworms:

  • Lack of eating/inability to eat
  • Loss of energy and lethargy
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • An abrupt collapse
  • A bulging chest
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Cough

If your puppy has had any of the above symptoms, take him to the vet immediately.

My dog has heartworms—how can I treat it?

There is an injection treatment for heartworms, but the overall cost can be up to $1,000. It’s much better to prevent heartworms in the first place with Heartgard or by keeping your dog out of mosquito-infested areas.

Your puppy will bring you many days of joy and tons of laughter throughout the course of your lives, but don’t forget that preventing heartworms is a crucial step in first adopting your new friend. Make sure to prolong his or her life with a good heartworm preventative so your cute little puppy can grow old with you.

Michele Bowie is the owner of an adorable Chihuahua named Tina. She lives in Philadelphia, PA and works in a vet’s office. She enjoys writing in her spare time.